WAIMEA — The County of Kauai just sealed the deal on a $5.3 million purchase of 417 acres of land in Waimea from Kikiaola Land Company.
“I think the county is the right agency to have this property,” said Department of Parks and Recreation Director Pat Porter on Monday.
The county has plans to turn the area, from about the Waimea baseball park to Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor, into what the community wants.
It’s the only agency that would give the land to the public in this way, Porter said.
The idea for a multi-faceted Westside community has been in the works for a while, as part of the West Kauai Community Plan, which launched in August 2018. The entire project is in the development stage and feedback from the community is still being collected.
So far, suggestions for the agricultural land have included a sports complex and other recreational activities like walking paths, an equestrian center and even a bandstand. Economic opportunities have been discussed as well, including agricultural endeavors. Additionally, affordable housing has been at the top of the list.
“Informal conversations” are still happening and the intention is to continue working with the Westside community. An established budget has not been proposed yet for the development, as it’s just in its planning stages, so all ideas are welcome, said Finance Director Reiko Matsuyama.
Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami said he envisions a place to, “live, work and play.” He also said he’s humbled by the purchase from Kikiaola Land Company, which was originally founded in the late 1880s as H.P. Faye and Company, by Hans Peter Faye, who was also one of the founders of the Kekaha Sugar Company.
They are a family with “a great long-standing legacy,” Kawakami said. “They can rest assured we’ll do right by their name.”
Today, Kikiaola Land Company is owned by 150 of Faye’s descendants and comprises some 630 acres between Waimea and Kekaha, including Waimea Plantation Cottages.
For the past 130 years, the family has been involved in developing the West Kauai community and has provided land for the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, the Waimea Canyon Middle School, the Kauai sewage treatment plant, as well as other community facilities in the area.
Chris Faye, one of the company’s owners, said she’s happy with the purchase, especially since it means that the land won’t be broken up into parcels like the family considered doing. Keeping the land together allows for more opportunities that the Westside community is interested in, such as a sports complex.
She added that she’s seen the communities of Waimea and Kekaha suffer since the closure of the sugar plantations and that the land will ultimately provide more economic opportunities that could give young family members an affordable place to live, rather than be forced to move away, and potentially provide more employment opportunities.